The Central Michigan football program unveiled its new $50,000 uniform line Aug. 15, and they have created quite a buzz since.
Whether you like them or you don’t, the fact is people are talking about them, and that is what athletic director Dave Heeke was looking to accomplish.
“(We) wanted it to help us get a great deal of exposure and put us on the national stage as one of the programs willing to do those things,” Heeke said. “There are pros and cons and people who like it and don’t, but the great thing is people are talking about it and I do know the players love it.”
Head coach Dan Enos said he didn’t expect such a big reaction out of the new uniforms, but the team’s reaction was nothing but positive.
“The reaction was unbelievable, and they were so excited,” he said during a post-practice interview with CMUChippewas.com. “They were fired up, and it was tough to get them to focus at practice the next day. I kept telling them just because you’ve got those fancy jerseys doesn’t mean you’re going to win every game you play. You still have got to go out and execute, but it was a fun night for everybody.”
The $50,000 project has been in the works for some time now with the Chippewas athletic department and its apparel sponsor, Adidas. The team was in need of new helmets, which accounted for half the cost, and decided to bring in a new look as well.
“We didn’t have backup helmets, which is standard, and we needed to do that anyway,” Heeke said. “So we brought that together to knock off two things.”
Along with the two new helmets, CMU will be donning maroon, white, gold and black tops and bottoms with the availability of eight different combinations.
“I think, as we worked with Adidas and we developed our relationship with them, we wanted to bring more clarity to our overall uniform look,” Heeke said. “First and foremost, we wanted to bring a strong look as we formed the partnership, bringing back the colors of maroon and gold, which are associated with athletics.”
With the new uniforms, athletics is now in talks with the CMU Bookstore to sell replica jerseys in the many locations on campus. Heeke hopes that new uniforms will mean more students and alumni wearing more Chippewas apparel.
“Nothing is more disappointing to me than students on this campus that choose to wear non-CMU items,” he said. “(We wanted) something strong that our student body and alumni want to wear and has a fashion sense, too.”
Whether football fans like it or not, there is a trend of new uniforms around the nation. New uniforms have become a recruiting tool that shows style and commitment to the program.
“I’m a believer in marketing and exposure, and I don’t think you can measure the positives enough for doing those sorts of things,” Heeke said. “Like it or not, people are talking about it, and that’s very good for us.”